Arizona Department of Health Services

Healthy Babies

newborn baby
Improving Birth Outcomes

In 2012, 495 Arizona babies died before their first birthday. There are so many factors that can affect birth outcomes including the health of a woman before she becomes pregnant, access to care, good nutrition, and a safe place to live, work and play.

ADHS is working with community members and other stakeholders to improve birth outcomes throughout the state. As a result of these efforts, ADHS was awarded the March of Dimes Virginia Apgar Prematurity Campaign Leadership Award. More about this can be found in the Reducing Prematurity section.

ADHS will continue working with the community to reduce poor birth outcomes. One step was to host the Arizona Birth Outcomes Summit in January. Participants identified strategies that will be the foundation for a statewide plan to improve birth outcomes. Materials from this summit can be found in the Birth Outcomes Summit section. Everyone in Arizona is invited to participate in this process. Please check back for frequent updates and requests for feedback.

What steps can you take to set the stage for a healthy baby?

After Delivery


In the first year of a baby's life, there are things we can do to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It's been nearly 20 years since the national "back to sleep" campaign was launched, teaching parents, child care providers, and health care professionals to put babies to sleep on their backs. The rate of SIDS went down by 50%. But rates have stalled and we're recognizing sleep-related issues such as suffocation and strangulation. Last year, 77 babies died in unsafe sleep environments, which is why we're promoting strategies for safe sleeping.

Research shows that we can reduce the risk for SIDS and sleep-related deaths by doing a number of things:

  • Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night
  • Place your baby on a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet, never on pillows, quilts, or other soft surfaces
  • Have baby sleep without extra bedding or toys, and ensure face is not covered during sleep
  • Safest place for baby to sleep is in the same room with a parent or caregiver but separate sleep surface, such as safety approved crib
  • Keep the baby's environment smoke-free
  • To prevent overheating, babies should sleep in lightweight clothing, with the room at temperature comfortable for an adult
  • ADHS Breastfeeding Program
    ADHS encourages moms to breastfeed for at least the first six months of their child's life. This is also promoted at hospitals with a program called AZ Baby Steps to Breastfeeding Success.
  • Arizona Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
    The WIC program continues to support babies after they are born providing breastfeeding support or formula to new parents and helping to educate families on proper nutrition.
  • Newborn Screening Program
    Get info on the tests performed on babies in Arizona shortly after birth and what diseases and complications proper screening and follow-up can prevent.

Note: Information provided in PDF files, unless otherwise indicated.